Supernova outbursts, crashes, and flashes, and a small satellite concept

Wednesday 06 Jul 2022 @ 12:00 p.m., Level 6 Geoff Opat(+Zoom)
Professor Chris Matzner, University of Toronto; Email: matzner[at]


I will cover three topics:

1. “Bells not Whistles”: Some massive stars undergo shock-driven outbursts before the cores collapse. I will show that nonlinear acoustics rules out a standard explanation for how these events are driven, a result that deepens the mystery of their origin.

2. “Do crashes make flashes?”: Compact supernovae can be aspherical enough to fling ejecta sideways, causing collisions outside the progenitor. I address the open question: can a circumstellar collision ever be visible from afar, or will it be smothered by the ejecta surrounding it?

3. “The LUVS small satellite concept.” This would be an instrument to perform rapid ultraviolet alert follow-up and chase binary neutron star coalescence signals. It is also a testbed for fast, cheap, off-the-shelf mission development in the New Space paradigm, intended to show that scaling laws, which say space must be hard, can be broken.